Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during training session at Bodymoor Heath training ground on December 22, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Boxing Day football on the BBC, it just feels right - Dean Smith's Aston Villa host Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace side, who will be looking to bounce back after a humbling 7-0 defeat at the hands of the current Premier League champions Liverpool

As for Aston Villa, who come in off the back of a triumphant 3-0 away win to local rivals West Brom - Smith's side will be looking to improve their form at home, as they've only won two games from six at Villa Park

It certainly won’t be plain sailing for Villa, despite Palace's most recent thrashing - the Eagles have proved on many occasions this season that they are capable of bouncing back from poor results. 

Notably, after losing 2-0 away from home to Wolves as Luka Milivojević saw red, Palace bounced back in a stylish manor and dispatched of Marcello Bielsa's Leeds United with ease, beating them 4-1 at home. 

The Eagles also responded well after a disappointing 2-0 loss at home to a COVID ravaged Newcastle side, by beating West Brom 5-1 in their own backyard. 

It seems when the pressure is on for Palace, they dig deep and fire back - which is something Villa should be wary of. Though, this season has demonstrated teams who come out and try to play Villa off the park generally struggle to do so.

Teams such as Arsenal and Liverpool who faced Villa with the aim of dominating the game played right into Villa's hands, as Smith's men picked their moments well and counter-attacked with ease - winning by 3-0 and 7-2 respectively. 

Aston Villa team news:

On loan Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley is expected to be fit for the tie, as well as defender Ezri Konsa who managed to recover from an undisclosed illness, Dean Smith has said on the record that Konsa has tested negative to COVID-19. 

The game comes too soon for Trezeguet, who will miss the game alongside both Wesley and Tom Heaton, both of which are entering the final stages of their recovery from long term injuries.

Crystal Palace team news:

Ex Villan Garry Cahill will miss the game due to an injury he picked up against Liverpool, though another former Villan will be available - Christian Benteke has served his one match ban and is available for selection.

Palace will also be without Wayne Hennessey, Nathan Ferguson, Martin Kelly, Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham - all of whom are nursing injuries. 

Previous meeting:

Last time the two sides met at Villa Park it proved to be a watershed moment for Villa, as a brace from an inspired Trezeguet lead Villa to a 2-0 win at home which proved to be crucial for Villa's Premier League survival. 

That afternoon in June proved to be one to forget for Palace, who had a controversial goal from Sakho ruled out by VAR and Benteke seeing red after the final whistle was blown. 

Ones to watch:

Eberechi Eze: Since arriving from QPR in the summer, Eze has proved to be an intelligent acquisition from the Championship. The midfielder has stepped up to life in the Premier League with ease and adds another dangerous dimension to an already potent Palace attack which Wilfred Zaha spearheads. 

Many similarities can be drawn between both Eze and Villa's Jack Grealish - in how they glide with the ball at their feet and how they strike fear into the eyes of defenders throughout the league. 

Despite occupying a wide position, Eze still looks very dangerous for Palace. Villa's Matty Cash will have quite a task ahead of him to keep the youngster quiet. 

Predicted lineups:

Aston Villa XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Traore, Grealish, El Ghazi, Watkins (4-2-3-1).

Crystal Palace XI: Guaita; Clyne, Tomkins, Cahill, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Riedewald, McArthur, Eze; Zaha, Benteke (4-4-2). 

How to watch:

The game will be broadcast live on BBC 1 in the United Kingdom, a game which is available for the masses. 

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